A strong review of Nigerian (Naija) albums
LABEL: Edge Records
Year of release: 2012
Indigenous rapper Remilekun Safaru a.k.a Reminisce is no stranger to the Nigerian music industry. From the street cred he has amassed, his creative wordplay, to his collaborations with various artists, he has created much noteworthy buzz for himself and it is no surprise that his first album Book of Rap Stories (BORS) has been heavily anticipated in the rap community. Like he noted in “Ever Since“, “I can’t wait till it’s my time to shine.” Through BORS, he now has the opportunity to do so and he invites the listener to join in on the ride.
“Intro“, the first track, which is done by Tatoo (who is either a friend or artiste on Edge records) kicks off Book of Rap Stories. The track is a hymn/praise type of record. The entire song, aside from Tatoo issuing out “words of wisdom” to the listener deals with him giving reverence to God and acknowledging that it is him who does things for people.
After praising God, we move on to the next track “Quality” which is one of my favorites on the album. The track was produced by Sarz. For a song that deals with a cliché topic (an artiste boasting about his or her sexual exploit), I will concede that this song is quality (pun intended), and catchy. With lines like “Se o ma je ereke?”,“Girls everywhere call me Mr Fix it”, “Baby I can take you from Babylon to Zion”, “Holla at me baby if you need recreation”, it’s easy for the listener to sing along and get carried away.
“Ever Since” which is the third track on the album features 9ice and was released in late 2010 deals with Reminisce’s journey from how far he has come in the industry compared to when he first started. Not surprising, 9ice does what he does best and his voice compliments the track nicely. Favorite line: “The mind of a ghetto youth is all we believe in.”
The fourth track “2mushh” which was produced by Legendary Beats is ironically another one of my favorites. The production on this track is impressive. Reminisce confidently talks about all the things he has seen and done (vulgar as some may be). It’s quite funny the stuff that comes out of his mouth: “Bata ti mo wo, Alexander ma gun yin ni/O mo swagga mi supreme ni/Ti o ba de ile bi o se wa yi, o ma bimo bimo/Check profile awon eni ti mo ti je seyin seyin/Bi won se wa yen, gbo gbo wan ni mo kan leyin leyin/Emi ni mo ni game yin, sheet, e ja bo.” This is a track that will get major airplay at parties and clubs.
From “2mushh” we transition to the next track “If Only” which was one of the first singles released off the album. Compared to the version that was first released, it appears this is a slightly tweaked version. Nonetheless, the theme on the upbeat record remains the same: Reminisce talks about a “girl loving him right” and the importance of money in taking care of a woman. This is a track that has lost none of its grooving power as it still gets people moving at parties.
Any rap album would be incomplete without a song about naysayers. We get that track in “Gbabe”. Reminisce recruits XP and Dagrin (RIP) to join him in schooling haters and they both deliver. The beat (Sarz has that magic touch) gives “Gbabe” an extremely gritty, street feel that is aptly hiphop. With declarations like: “When you see me on the street better pay me what you owe me/ I make you follow my shit like you under hypnosis/Enemies gbogbo yin RIP/But anywhere ti mo ba lo, sheet, I’m a VIP.”, the listener cannot help but bump his or her head to this.
The next track “Gbon Gbon” is one that should in my opinion have been left off the album. The auto tune on the song is quite distracting and unbearable. It appears there’s a lot going on, a problem a good number of Nigerian songs have, and there’s something about the hook and Minjin‘s voice that don’t quite mesh well. The theme of the track is also very unoriginal (been there done that). Featuring Ruggedman and having Josh Beatz produce this track (the beat though good would most likely have worked better on a different song) equally does nothing for the song as it is honestly forgettable.
After “Gbon Gbon“ we are introduced to “Bisi my lover” which has Mr Safaru discussing the story of his former love Bisi. The track chronicles his love for Bisi only to find out that she‘s a “chopper“ on the day he decides to show her off to his friends. The production on this track could have been a little cleaner, however this song is evidence of great storytelling by Reminisce.
The ninth track titled “Tinkin” features Patorankin and it is Reminisce’s attempt to display his versatility. He delivers his lines in a patois infused accent and quite convincingly too. However, this is another track that I think is sadly forgettable but not due to its attempt to be different. It is forgettable because the song honestly sounds like a cacophony of empty barrels. Regardless, Patorankin is quick to remind us that “Jesus raised Lazarus and Genesis is before Exodus.”
Current single “Kako Bii Chicken“, the tenth track on the album and a definite party starter, is a testament to Reminisce‘s ability to produce a fun record and Sarz‘s production genius. The listener is sure to find the track still as fun and fresh as when he or she first listened to it.
“Jemi” has Reminisce reminiscing (pun intended) about how he was initially ignored by girls when he first started out but now he is a hot piece of commodity now that he’s a success (typical story). The track which also features Jahbless is sub par.
Another disappointing track on BORS is “Caro”. The unoriginal topic Reminisce discusses does not help matters. This is a very forgettable song.
Finally, to make things right and never let his love out of his life (I’m guessing this is not Bisi he is referring to), Reminisce recruits Jospo on “Bye Bye” which rounds out BORS. On “Bye Bye”, Remilekun goes on a confessional spree detailing all the things he could have done right. He hopes his lost love will come back to him. However, he acknowledges that though he still loves her, his heart is broken, and the lady is unavailable, he will in the interim keep working hard and focus on being successful. It’s an average track.
BORS is Reminisce‘s attempt to officially introduce himself to Nigeria. Is he successful? Yes. For a good number of first albums released by Nigerian rap artists that usually out of 12 songs only have one or two songs that are worth listening to, BORS is a commendable effort.
Granted the album lacks a cohesive theme, some tracks should have been left off or replaced with others, and Reminisce should have shared more about himself to give the listener an opportunity to know more about him, his talent is undeniable. The overall production on BORS is also good. Producers like Sarz (who produced a majority of the songs) and Legendary beatz give BORS the production that it deserves and allows Reminisce to shine.
Outstanding Tracks: Quality, Ever Since, 2mushh, Gbabe, Bisi My Lover, Kako Bii Chicken
Disappointing Tracks: Tinkin, Jemi, Caro
VOCAL DROPS Rating System
OPINION (Personal): 6/10
SKIP FACTOR: 5/10
THE VERDICT: 5.9/10
In Remilekun Safaru, we have an artiste that is ready to declare that he is here to stay and has a lot more to offer. His willingness to say whatever is on his mind, be different, and his creative mode of delivery are all part of what make Reminisce very special. On BORS, he shows that he is able to balance delivering fun tracks such as “Kako Bii Chicken“, “Quality” & “2mushh” with reflective tracks like “Ever Since“ and “Bisi My lover”. Hopefully on his sophomore album, we get to know more about Reminisce and he shows a more mature side of himself as an artiste while striving for originality and creativity.
Ultimately, BORS is Reminisce‘s definitive declaration that he is not going anywhere soon.
Buy this album & Support The Artist.
Reminisce - 2 Mussh (3.4 MiB, 3,201 hits)
Reminisce - If Only 2.0 (3.0 MiB, 4,284 hits)
Reminisce - Kako Bii Chicken (3.5 MiB, 6,423 hits)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwnvTjJ_CgA&feature=youtu.be&a